Traveling with your dog during the Thanksgiving weekend can be very stressful for both you and your best friend. The hurry-up activities, strange sights, loud noises and unfamiliar people can disturb a mature dog that is used to familiar routines at home.
With some intelligent planning and consideration for the dog and people involved, there are ways to make the adventure easier to endure.
1. If you’re planning to fly to a Thanksgiving weekend destination, consider leaving your dog home. Have a friend or relative take care of it, or board it in a kennel. The most stressful way for a dog to fly is as a caged animal in cargo. Despite the care the airlines take to keep animals safe, the ordeal is never a pleasant one for pets nor anxious owners. If you do check your dog, your cost will be about $150 per flight, and it must be in an approved container with proper bowls for water and food.
2. You’re permitted to take a dog weighing 20 pounds or less into the passenger cabin with you. It must stay in an approved carry-on container throughout the flight, although some airlines allow brief free periods for feeding and exercise. The cost is about $100. Service dogs of all sizes fly free in the passenger cabin.
3. If you’re traveling by car, it will be more pleasant for your pet. The car is already a familiar place, and the dog is comfortable with family members. Take along feed and water bowls, mat and favorite toys.
If the Thanksgiving trip will last more than two hours, make regular stops for feeding, potty breaks and exercise. At all times, keep your dog on a leash.
4. If your Thanksgiving driving journey will involve overnight stops, call ahead to book a motel that accepts dogs. Some will allow dogs to stay in rooms, while others require them to be housed in kennels on motel property. Obey the rules for clean up after your dog and respect the quiet comfort of other motel guests.
5. If your pet tends to be nervous and restless, take vet-approved medications on your Thanksgiving journey. To allow regular sleep for the dog and everyone else on the trip, use the medications when necessary. Throughout the travel time, give your dog as much freedom and exercise as possible. Soothing talk and petting can also help make the experience more pleasant.
With the right planning and consideration for comfort and safety, traveling with your best friend for Thanksgiving can be a satisfying journey for both of you.